Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Review of Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly is Cynthia Hand's debut novel and it's in stores TODAY. The following review can be summed to with this: go out and buy yourself a copy. Go on. I'll wait.


Clara was fourteen when her power started manifesting and her mother told her she was part angel. She's since been having visions, glimpses of the future that reveal her purpose.

She forsees an alluring stranger, a forest fire, and assumes her purpose is to save him. But when it comes time to fulfill her purpose, she's torn between love and duty.

Unearthly puts a new twist on angels. The angel-bloods live essentially as human, albeit exceptional ones, until it comes time to fulfill their purpose.

Clara lived with her mother and brother in California until a vision revealed that she would fulfill her purpose in Wyoming, where they later moved. She's immediately drawn to Christian - the boy she's to save. But he spends summer at an internship in New York, and in his absence she falls in love with Tucker. She figures, why can't she can save Christian while still being with Tucker?

Clara was a likable main character, and the secondary characters were captivating, too. Even mean characters, a la Kay, were compelling because their personalities were so realistic and unique.

I loved the romantic aspect of the book. While I could see the appeal in Christian and understood why Clara was drawn to him, I'm on Team Tucker (and by extension, Team Aliteration). Their chemistry was apparent right from the beginning, through all their teasing. Their relationship built gradually and sweetly over the summer and it felt more like a realistic romance than hers with Christian.

Cynthia Hand's writing style was descriptive but still to the point. Her descriptions of the wilderness around Jackson Hole was beautiful. She also omitted slow, in-between scenes, so every scene felt important and added something to the story.

Unearthly had its laugh-out-loud moments, its suspenseful moments, and its sweet moments. It's an enjoyable read and I'd recommend it to anyone. I give it a 5 out of 5.